The founding story

Data is the new #oil, data is #key, data is the new #gold quote – ok, right so far.

But do you know what data also is? It’s #fun and it’s our #passion!

And as a simple fact that was the bone of contention that brought DATA festival to #live.


The founding story – “Let’s do something cool ourselves!”

A few years ago, DATA festival founders Alexander Thamm and Dr. Carsten Bange met at an american Data & AI conference, standing outside tryin’ to catch some fresh air. After some small talk, Alex asked Carsten: „Why can’t an event in Germany just be fun like this one? Exchanging on relevant Data & AI topics with a cold beer in hand instead of waring suit and tye and being bored.“

Alex is CEO and founder of Alexander Thamm GmbH, one of the leading providers of data science and artificial intelligence in the German-speaking region. Carsten is CEO and founder of BARC GmbH, an objective research company supporting software selection, whose business field also includes event management.

“Let’s do something cool ourselves!”

Those were the kind of words Carsten addressed to Alex. The rest, as they say, is history. Half a year later, Data Festival GmbH was founded by them in 2017.

The beginning

At that time, Data and AI were not yet as much of a topic at European conferences as they are today. The conferences that focused on Data and AI were either pretty boring, with people in suits, or not in Europe.

“We wanted to create something cool and innovative for people to join and share their passion for data in a more festival-like and open and playful atmosphere” Alex explains today. “A safe place where the people really doing Data & AI on a daily basis could share their successes and more importantly their failures. I was personally fed up with conferences where everybody shares fantastic ROI’s and high level results, where as an expert from the frontline you could easily see it’s fake. We are bringing together the “real” Data AI Community – people who have an impact with a slight focus on Europe.”

Alex and Carsten were not alone in this attitude. They were joined by Dr. Alexander Borek, Dr. Holger Kömm and Marcel Kling, who are committee members since day one of DATA festival.

It was a blast!

The first event, the DATA festival, finally took place over three days from April 16 – 18, 2018 at the Muffatwerk in Munich and – IT WAS A BLAST! Four pre-conference workshops on R-Package, Apache Spark, Data Science and Data Architecture & Design, then two conference days with exciting talks, lots of best practices from companies like BMW, Lufthansa and Zalando and one of the most honest fuck-up-sessions ever. In between a great party, festival atmosphere and a lot of FUN, FUN, FUN.

Getting virtual

Since then, there have been other DATA festivals in Munich that have not been inferior to the pioneer event. And also new members have joined the DATA festival committee. When it became clear in 2020 that no live event would be possible due to the Corona pandemic, the DATA festival Crew even managed to organize the event completely virtually. And once again, they were able to enjoy a huge success: Around 2,000 data enthusiasts from over 60 countries took part at DATA festival #online! Today, it’s hard to imagine the calendar without both, the online and the onsite version of the DATA festival. And we promise you – there’s more to come!

Thank you!

Dear DATA festival Community – we thank you for sharing your passion for data with us! We ♥U! And also a big „thank you“ to our wonderful DATA festival committee for your (data) love and support. Let´s keep it going 🙌!

We recorded the following video at DATA festival #online in September 2021. Watch it and find out more about the beginning of DATA festival.


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